Dude! Out of repair is me!

I have always had a sacred veneration for anyone I observed to be a little out of repair in his person, as supposing him either a poet or a philosopher - Jonathan Swift

(Cited by UNDERNEWS)

My reminder technique does not work for coupons at all.

What I do with the little notes I write for myself is, I put them all in a stack on my desk and leave them there until I forget what they mean, and then throw them away. It works really well.

What I do with coupons is, I put them all in a stack and then once in a while I shuffle through then to see if there’s anything I really want yet. If there is, it’s expired. The coupon, I mean. Expired. And that always makes me feel a little guilty - or, actually, more like a little stupid. So maybe I should work on trying to want things sooner.

But doesn’t that seem dumb?

Rice "seemed to cruise at a very high altitude," says WaPo writer.

I have absolutely no freakin' idea what that means.

Or this:
"You aren't going to be successful as a diplomat if you don't understand the strategic context in which you are actually negotiating," [Rice] said Tuesday. "It is not deal-making. It's not. There are a set of underlying relationships, underlying balance of power, leverage on different sides, and you have to recognize when you are in a position to then, on top of that, find a solution given the underlying balance."
(Washington Post)

Yeah. Has one ever eaten you?

Experts call sharks misunderstood fish

Experts point out that for all the hoopla over shark attacks, they're relatively few and fatalities are even fewer. Last year there were 86 known and suspected shark encounters, with seven confirmed deaths and the shark involvement in another two ocean fatalities uncertain, according to the Global Shark Attack File.

Meanwhile, about 100 million sharks and their close relatives are killed each year, either deliberately or as fishermen's bycatch, according to the Shark Alliance, a five-month-old international coalition of advocacy and ocean recreation groups.
(Associated Press)


Of course salmon don't eat any people, but salmon are wimps.

BULLETIN: Guy sticks sword down throat, cuts himself.

Hannibal - a former tax inspector - was not able to eat or drink for three weeks.

Whoa. It's a wacky world, huh? I mean, who could have seen that coming? Better not try it at home.

That's right! Or maybe a comet landed in his pants. Ever think of that?

But no way was it his cell phone. No freakin' way, say.... Oh, wait. Say Nokia engineers.
VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) - A fire that started in a California man's pants pocket, critically injuring him and destroying his hotel room, was not ignited by a cellphone as authorities suspected, phone technicians said.

Nokia Corp. engineers found the charred device still worked Wednesday and persuaded fire department investigators it had not spontaneously ignited in Luis Picaso's pocket.

"He could have been smoking a cigarette, the cigarette fell into his pocket and it started on fire," Vallejo fire inspector Bill Tweedy said.

But they still don't work in the Coke machine.

WASHINGTON — Reversing itself, the Defense Department says an espionage report it produced that warned about Canadian coins with tiny radio-frequency transmitters was not true.

The Defense Security Service said it never could substantiate its own published claims about the mysterious coins.

(Seattle Times)

So now we can quit worrying about the Canucks for a while, which is good because we're pretty busy worrying about other things. Like, for instance, the DoD.


The problem is, just pointing out these guys are full of foodledithers is getting dull.

Like here. TalkLeft notes this guy, General Casey, the one who now says this so-called Surge™ in Iraq will end in just a few months (no kidding), has played the same game before, promising yeah, we'll start bringing guys home any day now and, of course, then not.

So maybe that's just part of the evil plan. Maybe the evil plan is to get so overpoweringly, stupifyingly, boneheadly craZy dumb nobody will pay attention any more.

It's working, if it is.

Is this the guy with the cello or somebody else?

Ireland? Why only in Ireland?

NEW YORK (AFP) - Former Hollywood wild child Drew Barrymore likes nothing more than ripping off her clothes and running naked through the fields -- although apparently only in Ireland, according to a recent interview.

"I'll drive in Ireland and park my car and run out into the field and rip all my clothes off and just run in the wheat fields naked," the actress says in an interview with Parade magazine due to appear Sunday.

She adds that she is aware the idea might raise a few eyebrows.

Not exactly.

So who's this Henry and what have we heard from him before.

Ah. Kissinger. Right. And...oh yeah. Cambodia. Right. Well that sure didn't turn out so well.

But here he is again, explaining Iraq this time - oh, that's fine - in the Khaleej Times. OK, look. Don't ask me to explain. Maybe there wasn't a US paper that would print this thing.

About Iraq (among other things) he says...
But under present conditions, withdrawal is not an option. American forces are indispensable. They are in Iraq not as a favour to its government or as a reward for its conduct. They are there as an expression of the American national interest to prevent the Iranian combination of imperialism and fundamentalist ideology from dominating a region on which the energy supplies of the industrial democracies depend.

Yeah, you read it right.
They are there as an expression of the American national interest to prevent the Iranian combination of imperialism and fundamentalist ideology from dominating a region on which the energy supplies of the industrial democracies depend.

It's about the oil. Not WMDs or "freedom" or "democracy," or about what a bad boy Saddam was, or even about fighting terrorism, come to that. And certainly not about 9/11. About the oil.

There will be a quiz.

Yeah, what about that Dennis Hastert?

Hey I don't follow this stuff much - mostly because I don't understand it - but somebody at The Carpetbagger Report does, it seems.
I can appreciate the fact that the story appeared in the Fashion section, but there continues to be far too much interest among reporters in Nancy Pelosi’s clothing. She’s been Speaker for two weeks; Dennis Hastert was Speaker for seven years. Guess whose fashion choices generated more “news” items?

Come to think of it, I don't remember - of course there are a lot of things I don't remember these days but what the hell, anyway - I don't remember ever seeing a picture of Dennis Hastert in a dress. Yeah, I'm pretty sure if I had I'd remember that, alright. Not positive, but pretty sure.

And anyway, she looks pretty good to me.

Bunker "press" would rather not hear.

From Attywood:

It appears the White House Correspondents Association has instructed the entertainer chosen to appear at its next dinner, comedian Rich Little (Rich Little?) not to "bash Bush" or mention the war in his routine.

"I won't even mention the word 'Iraq'," Little promises.
Little, who hasn't been to the White House since he was a favorite of the Reagan administration, said he'll stick with his usual schtick -- the impersonations of the past six presidents.

How many times, how many times...

...does this quote have to be pasted up on the internets before its significance finally begins to sink in?
“Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

(Hermann Goering, late Nazi)

OK, better late than never I guess.

Better, at least, for the ones who still have feet and arms and faces. Better for the ones who are still alive. Better, at least.
"The biblical witness tells us that when a blind man leads he stumbles into a ditch," said Parham. "That's why those with sight lead those who are blind. And now is the time, for the sighted Christian community to provide clarity about a way forward. We must offer the moral message that violence only begets more violence. Sending more troops will beget more violence. More violence is not an acceptable moral path. An acceptable path is more talking with our real and perceived adversaries, seeking the common ground of less violence."

(Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, quoted - with much more - by the Rev. Chuck Currie, United Church of Christ.)


So I guess it's pretty clear by now isn't it?

These guys are going to go after Obama and knock him out of the box any way they can, the nutjobs are. Make fun of his name - or worse, make it sound sinister and un-American. Dismiss him as too young and inexperienced. Question his fervor for warring on the terrorist hordes. And, oh yeah, he’s black black black. Too black black black. Or not black black black enough. Not that we would want to mention he’s black black black.

And now, ohmygod, he smokes too. Ladies and gentlemen, he’s coming after your children. He’s coming after your daughters.

This time Limbaugh:
On the January 18 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, discussing Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) smoking, Rush Limbaugh said: "If he's got fire in his hands, what has he got in his pants?"

Earlier, Limbaugh had played an audio clip of Manhattan Institute senior fellow John H. McWhorter from the January 17 edition of The Big Story with John Gibson, during which McWhorter said, referring to Obama: "I think a lot of people find him sexy, and I think, even in today's America, there's a sense that there's something vaguely sexy about cigarettes; you've got fire in your hand."

(Media Matters)

You’re not surprised, are you? That’s just what these guys are.

They need to be put back under their rocks with the other creepy crawlies, and the sooner we get that done the better off we’ll be.

Alberto Gonzales is a disgrace to his job.

Specter: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take it away except in the case of invasion or rebellion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus?

Gonzales: I meant by that comment that the Constitution doesn't say that every individual in the United States or every citizen has or is assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says that the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.

Noted by TalkLeft.

Click the link (above) for a quiz.

More on Buchwald.

Turns out Buchwald taped his own obit for the New York Times. From Editor & Publisher...
NEW YORK As Web sites worldwide reported the death of columnist Art Buchwald today, The New York Times had one approach that beat them all -- Buchwald himself announcing his own death on video.

"Hi, I'm Art Buchwald and I just died," the late columnist says on the video posted this morning on nytimes.com, just minutes after his death was made public. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer then goes on to discuss his life with reporter Tim Weiner, in an unusual embargoed interview conducted last July.

The video, in several parts, is here.

George McGovern has some questions for the DOOFUS.

You remember George McGovern, don't you, the wimpy libsymp from one of those Dakota places? Now 84, McGovern had some "impertinent questions" for "Mr. Bush, Jr." at the National Press Club the other day...
Mr. President, I do not speak either as a pacifist or a draft dodger. I speak as one who after the attack on Pearl Harbor, volunteered at the age of nineteen for the Army Air Corps and flew thirty-five missions as a B-24 bomber. I believed in that war then and I still do sixty-five years later. And so did the rest of America. Mr. President, are you missing the intellectual and moral capacity to know the difference between a justified war and a war of folly in Vietnam or Iraq?

That and a whole lot more, here, from The Nation.

Don't wait up for answers, would be my advice.

Art Buchwald...

...was a very funny guy. He wrote about Paris nightlife and Washington politics for the old New York Herald Tribune, won the Pulitzer prize for commentary, authored 30 books and a Broadway play, and never quit laughing at himself.

"If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.“ he once observed.
Here’s more from the Associated Press.

The pot.

Died. Just quit. Around here when the coffee pot gives out it’s a serious, nigh life-threatening matter; it’s been replaced and I’m back. The coffee’s good.

And MacJournal’s finally been updated to work with the new Blogger software so I’ll be attempting a few posts from there. An even halfway decent blogging tool (beyond the one provided by Blogger, which works in Firefox but not Safari) is difficult to find. I had hopes that MacJournal might break the mold but so far it seems to have difficulty with spacing and handling the pullquotes - that pretty well covers the bases, doesn’t it - so I’m not sure I’ll be using it long. Until, that is, I can pull off some appropriate tweaks.

In the meantime there might be a few odd-looking entries hereabouts, which will all be MacJournal’s fault. Because the surely couldn’t be mine.

(And I have no idea what might happen if I try to add a photo but whatever it is, it’s this:


Later: OK, that doesn't look half bad except for the photo thing which, as you can see, isn't. But I expected worse. So maybe there'll be some use for this after all. We'll see.)

Yeah, I've been wondering about that myself.

Why is it that here at home the mere mention of “timetables” sends Bushco into spasms of blubbering - about giving comfort to the terrorists and all that - while at the same time it’s OK to tell Iraq’s PM al-Maliki his government is living on “borrowed time”? I mean, never mind the part about his being democratically chosen and Iraq being a sovereign nation and the rest of that - the part about comforting the terrorists, I mean. Like...
Robert [“No Expert on Military Matters”] Gates, the new US Defence Secretary, said that Mr al-Maliki could lose his job if he failed to stop communal bloodshed and Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, gave a warning that he was living on “borrowed time” and that American patience was running out.

That kind of thing. Well, al-Maliki’s no dummy. He’s figured out the drill.
In a sign of the tense relations with Washington, [al-Maliki] chided the US for suggesting his Government was living on “borrowed time”. Such criticism boosted Iraq’s extremists, he said....

See what I mean? And by the way, we’re not giving them weapons? What are they doing, just pointing fingers and saying “bang”?

"Cracked" or "broken," it's on his face.

If you missed the Lehrer/DOOFUS interview, featuring Great Thoughts About Eggs and Sacrifice, a clip of MSNBC coverage of it is posted at Crooks and Liars, here. Just for its buffoonery content it's worth a watch.

But bear in mind, this is the omelet that's running the entire country. And then try to laugh along as Lehrer and the DOOFUS share a chuckle about the egg.

Because it's working so well in Iraq...

...US Secretary of Defense Robert ("No Expert on Military Matters") Gates wants to send more troops to Afghanistan too. It's to "build on the success" there, he says, or maybe just so nobody will feel left out. Only this time they're not calling it a Surge™, they're calling it...wait, wanna guess? Nawww. You'll never guess. They're calling it a short-term plus-up.

No joke.
“Clearly any kind of deployment of forces is going to add short-term strain,” [Gen. Peter Pace] said...."For a short-term plus-up, you could have a success that makes you have less stress on the force over a longer period of time.”

Got that? Really?

WIIIAI suggests they only use these dopey terms so then can giggle when those newsy Faux anchorbimbos try to say them with a straight face. WIIAI might be right. I don't watch Faux much but if I did, that's why I would.

But what'll be really funny is when Condi tries to call that an "augmentation," huh?


You'll just have to use your imagination here, OK?

I don't know why but Blogger has been really dorky about uploading photos recently. I went to a lot of trouble finding a picture for this post but Blogger keeps spitting it back out.

But it was only a tiny picture, and you wouldn't have been able to see anything anyway because it was a photo of a guy with camouflage on his face. And why would he be wearing camouflage? Because he is being hunted, that's why. As Echidne of the Snakes notes, blabberbimbo Michael Savage reveals the civil rights movement types and other assorted illibsymps are stalking...no, wait, let him explain...
...there's only one group that's targeted, and that group are white, heterosexual males. They are the new witches being hunted by the illiberal left using the guise of civil rights and fairness to women and whatnot.

So that's it then. A white, heterosexual male with paint on his face, and whatnot.

You didn't really have to see it, did you?

Oh oh.

To protect ourselves against bioterrorism, we need a strong, well-funded public health infrastructure. No amount of Peter Pan conservatism is going to change that because the norovirus (and potentially, far worse things) doesn't care that Karl Rove cleaned up in the 2002 midterm elections or that George Bush is the Decider. Logistics, infrastructure, and planning matter.

(Emphasis mine.)

More from Mike the Mad Biologist on "Norovirus and Surveillance."

A miracle!

Chimp virgin birth.
SHREVEPORT, La. - In a mysterious bit of monkey business, a female at a chimpanzee sanctuary has given birth, despite the fact that the facility's entire male chimp population has had vasectomies.

So then this changes everything.

Not me. I don't feel no educateder myself.

[DOOFUS] says he’s “spent a lot of time during my presidency talking to the American people and educating the American people about the stakes and what we’re trying to get done.” Does anyone actually feel more educated, more knowledgeable after listening to Bush speak?

I'm just pointing out here, is all.

WIIIAI points out an example of the DOOFUS' educational efforts (more from the Lehrer interview):
LEHRER: Just today, another 35 people were killed in bombings; 80 over the weekend.

BUSH: Yeah, there is a difference between - look, death is terrible - but remember, some of these bombings are done by al-Qaida and their affiliates, all trying to create doubt and concern and create these death squads or encourage these death squads to roam neighborhoods.

Well, not that there was a question there to begin with. No answer necessary; none given. Pure education is what it is. Right there.

"Gonzales must go."

Writing at TalkLeft, Big Tent Democrat argues Alberto Gozales should be impeached.
In his speech today, Attorney General Gonzales utterly repudiates the view he expressed under oath to the Senate. He now states that it is his view that a state of war is in fact a blank check for the President, that there are no limits to Presidential wartime power and that he no longer recognizes the role of the courts in our system of government regarding national security issues.

Read more.

Too much excitement in your life? Is that your problem, Bunky?

Well thrill no more. You can hang out with cardboard people from Advanced ("Our Kind of People Are Cardboard People") Graphics of Layton, Utah! How cool is that?

(I was browsing some of he web searches that deposit unsuspecting surfers on these shores and noted one for "lifesize cutouts of Adam and Eve" which, of course, I pursued. Turns out there are no life sized cutouts of Adam and Eve available. Or none, that is, you would care to let your mother know you own. Just so you know.)

Whoa! Brain impulse arrives in head of congresscritter (R)!

"You could say that our reservoir of new ideas is low..."

gasps Boehner.

Read more amazing news here, at Raw Story.

Me? I deserve a medal myself.

Here's the DOOFUS on Jim Lehrer's show describing the sacrifices we all must make...
LEHRER: Let me ask you a bottom-line question, Mr. President. If it is as important as you’ve just said - and you’ve said it many times - as all of this is, particularly the struggle in Iraq, if it’s that important to all of us and to the future of our country, if not the world, why have you not, as president of the United States, asked more Americans and more American interests to sacrifice something? The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They’re the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night.

Fom Carpetbagger (read it all), emphasis mine.

A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.

(With apologies to Ev Dirksen's ghost.)

The estimates being tossed around for the incremental cost of Bushco's current escalation in Iraq approximate the total annual funding for the National Cancer Institute - about $6 billion - as reported in this story in this morning's New York Times, which breaks down the entire cost of the train wreck in Iraq - a trillion or more - in terms of what else could be had for the money.
For starters, $1.2 trillion would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign — a doubling of cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives.

Combined, the cost of running those programs for a decade wouldn’t use up even half our money pot....

One must, I suppose, carry on.

Something seems to have gone terribly wrong. Outside it's cloudlessly sunny. The grass is as green as it normally is in June (although there is ice on the puddle). But my temp widget seems to be stuck on 5º. Clearly, I will need to find a new and more reliable widget. In the meantime I will sit here snuggled in my hoodie and attempt to carry on.

This from a commenter (sans-culotte) on a Rough Type blog post discussing what Nicholas Carr calls pay-per-view journalism (ranking the value of stories by the number of clicks they prompt):
This is how the blogs can force the media to do their job, by simply linking to and encouraging readers to click the links of the best stories of what is most important. When a reporter writes tripe, blogs should call it out, cite it, but never link to it.

And I like that idea. Hey, it's still a new year, isn't it? Resolutions don't last long around here so no need to panic - it's really more an experiment anyway, not a new rule - but I think I'll be a little less religious about always (well, mostly always) linking to every story I mention for a while, see how it feels.

In fact I've tried to stifle my impulse to announce rules for myself on this blog (and done a pretty good job of it too, I might add), figuring if it changes direction it will probably change again before anybody notices anyway, and without my having to describe yet more rules. So this is an exception which I hereby rescind in advance, just in case.

And I am off to try to find myself a warmer widget.


Balloons over Main Street in January

Still got one of those old AOL floppies lying around?

Well, if not, any old floppy will do - Jacob in Seattle finds a good use for it at WikiHow...
Hum the theme song to the original Star Trek as you build your model to help pass the time and to take this geek project to the next level.

See how to make a model of the Starship Enterprise, fashioned from a floppy disk. Cool!

(Warning: Doing this will destroy all data on the disk.)

Weird sense of humor, those Canadians have.

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian wildlife officials are looking for a brave driver prepared for a 3,500-kilometre (2,200 mile) trip to take a stinky stowaway skunk back to her home in California.

Next time she calls, better answer.

San Francisco- A cell phone that spontaneously burst into
flames in a man's pocket has left the man badly burned...

No, seriously. If you insist on going to sleep in a lawn chair take your pants off first.

This is the end of the world for sure.

"This is yet another of the inexorable signs that there is no going back to a world where we can assume that marriage is the main institution that organizes people's lives," said Professor Stephanie Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit research group.

I think she means no going back to a United States but hey, pretty close. Something around five percent, anyway.

OK, so it's not so scary after all. For a minute there....

Oh oh, now it's Pakistan's fault too.

[US Secretary of Defense Robert ("No Expert on Military Matters")] Gates also said Pakistan must act to stem an increasing flow of Taliban fighters into Afghanistan as U.S. military officials cited new evidence that the Pakistani military, which has long-standing ties to the Taliban movement, has turned a blind eye to the incursions.

Gonna need more Surge™.

I wonder of they can blame Katrina on, I don't know, Venezuela, maybe. Is that possible?

But if you want a donut forget the whole thing.

From YAME's Seattle Bureau:
A $4/day coffee habit is worth almost $19,000 over 10 years (assuming that, alternatively, $4 per day could be saved at 5% annual interest compounded daily).

Over 20 years, it’s worth just over $50,000, $21,000 of which is interest which is like 5,250 free lattes (which would take about 14.5 years to drink).

Or, after about 14 years, the savings and interest accumulated could pay out $4/day for life. That’s a free latte every day for the rest of your life! AND, when you die, there would still be $29,000 in your account. How cool is that?

"I'm from Saudi Arabia and I'm here to help you."

Somehow I can't see putting this way up near the top of my good news list: MSNBC is reporting (here via Raw) the Saudis are "mulling" sending troops to Iraq to "protect their interests there." But don't expect them to "solve Iraq's problems," say officials. Yeah, I bet. (Has Trickshot Dick crossed them too? Or just us again?)

Meanwhile Condi is over in the Mideast flailing about, mumbling something about getting the Israelis and Palestinians to go off in a corner and hold hands for a while, just a while, and telling the Egyptians don't worry about the democracy thing, it's "stability" we're after now, and maybe she can find some other guys to talk to too. Years ago I worked in a big corporation where I met some true masters at looking busy while doing nothing at all, but this Rice has them all beat by a mile.

The DOOFUS and Trickshot are winking like craZy at the Israelis while trying to blame the whole Iraq mess on Iran, trying to squeeze another carrier into the Gulf without bumping into any more Japanese freighters on the way (and these are the guys who like to laugh at Jimmy Carter?) and waving some Patriot missiles around, just trying to prove they can do it, I guess, because they sure aren't going to be much use against roadside bombs.

And what Americans are concerned about, the DOOFUS says, is that the Iranians aren't grateful enough. Not that he pays attention to polls (or, for that matter, votes), and not that Congress can do a damn thing about it except pony up more bucks.

Is this a little bit depressing, or what.

Meanwhile, speaking of ungrateful (not to mention depressing) I find myself getting tired of a winter that hasn't even begun yet, here, although we do seem to have some snow in the forecast for Friday.


Sounds like monkey business to me.

This year, Mr. Adam Monk, the Sun-Times' stock-picking monkey who has beaten the market for four years running, is into erectile dysfunction. He's also into syringes, women's clothes and fresh fruit and vegetables. But don't get the wrong idea.

These are the businesses of Mr. Monk's latest stock picks, made last week exclusively for the Sun-Times. And that means only one thing: It's time again for the Sun-Times Monkey Manager stock-picking contest, celebrating the wisdom of the everyday investor and primate.

(Chicago Sun-Times)

Big investment bank warns of attack on Iran.

Sketching out the time line for an attack, Robertson says that "we can be fairly sure that if Israel is going to act, it will be keen to do so while Bush and Cheney are in the White House."


Chief economist says "low probability," then makes case for strike in February or March.

Does he just have some kind of thing about painting schools or was it the postcard idea that turned him on?

At one high school in Washington, D.C, people from the surrounding neighborhoods gathered to paint the walls with murals, and to send postcards to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

President Bush helps paint a mural as he visits Cardozo Senior High School, 15 Jan. 2007
President Bush helps paint a mural as he visits Cardozo Senior High School, 15 Jan. 2007
About 350 volunteers showed up at the school, including President Bush....

(Voice of America)

It's all about the gratitude.

Gen. Otis Howard, a former director of the Freedmen’s Bureau, wrote an article in 1898 suggesting that Americans were developing a prejudice against Cubans, who “have not properly appreciated the sacrifices of life and health that have been made to give them a free country,” similar to the “dislike of black men in 1863... because so many of them did not seem to understand, or be grateful for, what had been done for them.”


After all this time, you'd think. Or maybe not.

"So here he is, Little George..."

How do you build yourself a madman? Well, first you flatter him, and then you try never to make him angry, and then you feed him ideas that flatter him even more by making him seem to himself sentimentally visionary and powerful and righteous. You appeal to his already evident mean streak and his hot temper by reminding him all the time that he has enemies, and you cultivate his religious side so that the sense of righteous victimization inherent in extreme religion comes out. If he were not already an ignorant, dependant, fragile, and rigid person, he would not be susceptible to this sort of conditioning, but by temperament and practice, he has nothing of his own to counter your efforts. Then you hire a few shyster-sycophants like John Yoo to tell him (ignorant as he is, with no actual understanding of the Constitution), that as president he can do whatever he wants.

(Jane Smiley at HuffPo)


Authorities are baffled: is selective cleaning a crime?
Selective cleaning? Oh yeah. This guy, goes by the name of Moose, is an "anti-graffiti artist," makes his art by using soap and water on grimy walls.

"The Leeds City Council has been considering what to do with Moose," reports Neat-o-rama.

Give him a medal, say I.

So fine, oh so fine.

I can't eat potato chips too well these days and I sure can't eat pretzels, and I was meditating on that sorry state of affairs driving to the grocery store when suddenly in a blinding flash of liberating revelation, an aha chorus, it came to me...
puffy orange cheese things!
Oh yes! And then inside the store there was a moment of mind-numbing abject terror when I could not find on the snack rack any puffy orange cheese things. But wait! In the middle of the aisle! A tower of glorious goodness! An edifice of edible ecstasy! A burgeoning bin of puffy orange cheese things! Ahhhhhhhh. So fine.


Life is good.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to check off all the stuff on my todo list today. Does anybody remember what "find three authorized" means?


Increased US military activity in the Gulf is aimed at Iran's "very negative" behaviour, the Bush administration said today.

The defence secretary, Robert ["No Expert on Military Matters"] Gates, told reporters that the decision to deploy a Patriot missile battalion and a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf in conjunction with a "surge" of troops in Iraq was designed to show Iran that the US was not "overcommitted" in Iraq.


Big plan, small result.

A central piece of the state's sweeping welfare reform, which sought to enlist Massachusetts companies to hire and train welfare recipients, has failed to attract employers and is virtually defunct, records show.

The program began with fanfare a decade ago, with the expectation that thousands of private employers would be lured through wage subsidies and tax breaks to actively recruit and hire welfare recipients.

But statistics show that business participation in the state's Full Employment Program has fallen dramatically from its peak of 500 employers in 1998 to only 32 businesses today, and the state has stopped enrolling new companies....

When contacted by the Globe last week , the longtime president of the state's largest retail trade association said he had never heard of the program.

(Boston Globe)

Why it's a good idea to have your number in the book.

A wealthy Portuguese bachelor who had no children left his fortune to 70 strangers who he selected at random from a telephone book, a newspaper reported on Saturday.



BAGHDAD, Jan. 14 — Just days after President Bush unveiled a new war plan calling for more than 20,000 additional American troops in Iraq, the heart of the effort — a major push to secure the capital — faces some of its fiercest resistance from the very people it depends on for success: Iraqi government officials.

American military officials have spent days huddled in meetings with Iraqi officers in a race to turn blueprints drawn up in Washington into a plan that will work on the ground in Baghdad. With the first American and Iraqi units dedicated to the plan due to be in place within weeks, time is short for setting details of what American officers view as the decisive battle of the war.

But the signs so far have unnerved some Americans working on the plan, who have described a web of problems — ranging from a contested chain of command to how to protect American troops deployed in some of Baghdad’s most dangerous districts — that some fear could hobble the effort before it begins.

Eau de Blog

Leah at Corrente reports on Sunday Gassbaggery:
We’re going to bring “the rule of law” to Baghdad, damnit. “The Time To Act Is Now!” So, says Mr. Hadley. What was wrong with acting in 2003, 2004,2005, or 2006 went undiscussed.

WIIIAI notes the DOOFUS' take on what's the problem here in America:
I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude, and I believe most Iraqis express that. I mean, the people understand that we’ve endured great sacrifice to help them. That’s the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that’s significant enough in Iraq.

And the Huffington Post discovers:
"Saddam Hussein Hanging Video" Tops The New York Times Website's "Most Searched List"

Like, if the people find out about it?

Discovered by Dean Baker at The American Prospect and passed on by The Sideshow, this at the very bottom of a Washington Post piece last week:
Conrad declined to provide many details of the panel, saying too much information could "kill this baby in the crib."

Baby? A "bipartisan plan" to "deal with the skyrocketing costs of Social Security and other entitlement programs, with the goal of bringing a reform proposal to a vote in Congress later this year," according to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).

Oh no. There may be room to talk about Social Security but there is no room to make secret deals regarding its future. There is no point spending American lives to "spread democracy" if we're not going to practice it here at home. Want to discuss it, discuss it out in the open where we can all see.


The folly of it all.

Use of new Red Crystal finally allows Israel to join Red Cross

By Reuters

GENEVA - The world's largest relief organization, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, on Sunday began using a third emblem whose adoption allowed Israel to join after a decades-long struggle.

The red crystal on a white background is an alternative to either the cross or the crescent and is intended to provide protection to relief workers operating in areas of conflict.

When we can't all even agree on what kind of freakin symbol to use for the Red freakin Whatever we are in deep, deep doo-doo, Bunky, we really are.

"Super evil al-Qa'ida masterminds" downgraded to "some homeless guys."

OK, nomadic herdsmen. Pretty close. Sitting around a campfire. Next thing they knew, they were dead.
Oxfam yesterday confirmed at least 70 nomads in the Afmadow district near the border with Kenya had been killed. The nomads were bombed at night and during the day while searching for water sources. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Kenya has acknowledged that the onslaught on Islamist fighters failed to kill any of the three prime targets wanted for their alleged role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.


Just another "new front" in the everlasting terror war.
The operation, which opened a new front in Washington's anti-terror campaign, seems to have backfired spectacularly in the five days since it was launched. In addition to the scores of Somali civilians killed, the simmering civil war in the failed state has been rekindled.

And these are the guys who like to laugh at Jimmy Carter.

What we need is a little regime change in Iraq.

Oh wait. We already tried that?

Well, something then. I mean, this guy Maliki is supposed to be the democratically chosen leader of a sovereign country but he's not doing what we tell him to do.
BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has filled the top military job in Baghdad with a virtually unknown officer chosen over the objections of U.S. and Iraqi military commanders, officials from both governments said.

Iraqi political figures said Friday that Maliki also had failed to consult the leaders of other political factions before announcing the appointment of Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar.

Imagine! Naming a general without consulting other political factions! It's an outrage!
Maliki's decision to push through his own choice for one of the country's most sensitive military posts — and to reject another officer who was considered more qualified by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey — has renewed questions about the prime minister's intentions.
After we went to all the trouble of invading them you'd think we'd get a little more respect.

Spreading liberty and democracy around the globe.

And, oh yeah, corruption. Check.

And incompetence. Right. That too.
The American company appointed to advise the US government on the economic reconstruction of Iraq has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars into Republican Party coffers and has admitted that its own finances are in chaos because of accounting errors and bad management.

BearingPoint is fighting to restore its reputation in the US after falling more than a year behind in reporting its own financial results, prompting legal actions from its creditors and shareholders.